Payasam & Pookkalam – Sadya Recipes


The payasam is the main attraction of a sadya. There are many varieties and versions of payasam, but the one I love most is the simple basic paal payasam (Rice Kheer).

At my place, it’s always been a practice to make only one payasam, but many people make 3 or even 4 payasams for a sadya, esp. when preparing for Onam. My mother and brother make excellent paal payasam. They tend to the payasam with same love and care one does for a small child and its no wonder that it turns out perfect every single time!

Milk based payasam have more or less the same basic method. Cook the rice, ada, semiya or whatever grain in milk. Then add the sugar and let it boil till it reaches the correct consistency.

There are many other milk based payasams. This one has rice, another famous one is palada pradhaman. I was planning to make it this year, but changed my mind due to lack of time.

You have


Another popular kind of payasam is jaggery based. For this payasam, you need to melt the jaggery in a little bit of water and strain it to remove impurities. You then add the already cooked grain (at times the rice/ada may not cook properly if you add jaggery to it) and thin coconut milk (if the recipe demands it) and let it boil for sometime. When the grain is cooked completely, you add the thick coconut milk and you are done.

You have

You need to check out my last year’s Sadya post for the paal payasam recipe.

P is also for Pappadam and pickle. Another two important items in a sadya. Pickle can be again 3 (or even 4) types. In my place, again, its just one. Inji curry/ Inji Puli/ Puli Inji is a must for Onasadya.

P is also for Pookkalam, the floral carpet/ flower rangoli. This is put in the front of the house, so as to welcome Mahabali when he comes to visit us for Onam. After about 20 plus years, I did a pookkalam this year.

The inspiration is from my friend, who put the pookkalam for all the ten days (I missed two days :( ) from Atham to Thiruvonam. The below (except the last one) are her creations. I missed two important ones – the one she put for Ganesh Chathurthi ( face of ganesha as pookkalam) and Uthradam (It was Oda Kuzhal – flute of Krishna).


Everyday, I would take my new dSLR(Canon 600D) and go to her place and click from all possible angles. Its almost like doing yoga in that corridor ;-)

Her corridor has absolutely no light and so I was never able to capture the full beauty of it…not to mention that I still haven’t figured out how to use the camera effectively :D.

Taken in poor light conditions by a struggling photographer, these pictures don’t do full justice to the beauty of the pookkalams. Hopefully I will be better next year, or may I can ask her to do it inside the house, where there is good light ;-).

Admire these pookkalams from Atham to Thiruvonam, (missed two days in between :D).

The last pookkalam was put by the residents as part of the Onam celebrations in our association complex.











Previous Posts:

  1. A – Avial, Ada Pradhaman, Achinga Payar – Chena Mezhukkupiratti
  2. B – Beetroot Kichadi, Beet root thoran, Beans Thoran
  3. C  – Carrot Thoran, Cabbage Thoran
  4. D – Daal – Parippu Curry
  5. E – Erisseri – Chena & Mathan Vanpayaru
  6. F – Fruit Pachadi
  7. G – God’s Own Country – Kerala
  8. H – How to Serve a Sadya
  9. I – Inji Puli
  10. J – Jackfruit Payasam – Chakka Payasam
  11. K – Kalan & Koottu Curry
  12. L – Lemon Rasam
  13. M – Mambazha Pulisseri & Mathan Pachadi
  14. N – Neer Moru/ButterMilk
  15. O – Olan
  16. P – Paal Payasam and Pookkalam

21 thoughts on “Payasam & Pookkalam – Sadya Recipes

  1. Such a beautiful post Rajani, this is a stunning display of pookolams..Your friend has done an awesome job..and I can imagine you doing a jig trying to capture the pookolams..:)


  2. Omg, thats a beautiful post, wat an incredible collections of pookolam, each one is prefect and cute. Thats incredible that u r doing BM with onam spl and curiously wat you will be posting for Q,X,Z..


  3. Omg such an fabulous post and awesome pookalams dear :) love the arrangements you have done can see you great efforts :) Wow the way you have done this A-Z ona sadya special :) very very impressive post and payasam looks so creamy and delicious :) awesome no words to explain how much in love with post and loving you patience :) hats off to you :)


  4. love the way your A-Z is evolving.. see myself compelled to pop here every day to check the special of the day :-) am impressed how you have done multiple recipes on many days


  5. I am spell bound..have always loved these arrangements and make one every year for Diwali…but to do for so many days…well may be I will do all 10 days for Onam next year provided you inform me in time..this is again a passion with me…I have some pics but maybe 10 years back ke..and they are quite dull now…we call it phoolo Ki rangoli….absolutely stunning and beautiful..and well captured..wonder why you talk negative.:)) once again..awesome!


  6. Great posts throughout the days climaxing on ThiruOnam day!
    Extremely happy to realize that among us we still have youngsters like you who take pride & joy in blogging about our beautiful Hindu festivals that are celebrated in our BHARATADESHAM so full of spirituality & higher thought to reach the Ultimate Truth -ब्रह्मज्ञानम !
    My children make fun & question ‘is there any day which is not considered HOLY in our DHARMAM?’
    In answer the Truth is that everyday is HOLY for us & Life is indeed a celebration full of rituals leading us onwards!


    1. @Vijaya, Onam is Kerala’s festival and all malayalis (irrespective of caste and religion) celebrate it. Many, like me, wont do the ten day pookkalam and four day sadya, but there are a lot of people – like my friend, whose pookkalams i have featured here – follow the age old practices. Keralites prepare a sadya on the day of Thiruvonam, irrespective of religion. Its more of a festive season than a religious function.


      1. Yes,I do agree with you as to what you have stated in your first sentence.
        However,I am going to ‘brave’ & state that the source of Onam celebration is indeed Hindu.
        Due to historical & societal changes in the demography of the different states of our nation(invasions,conversions & also migrations) Onam has become universalised- this type of celebratory acceptance is called ‘inculturation’.
        In Bharat every festival at the core has a spiritual context apart from the social celebratory & fun aspect.
        And people from every caste belonging to different religious denomination will vouch for this.This is stark & plain history.


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